Walking out of here

Boy did I need that. To get out of Kabul, just for a day, and just walk.

Most weeks running round a dusty school playing field overlooked by watch-towers is the only exercise I get. It keeps me sane but it’s hardly edifying. The furthest I walk during the rest of the week is across the office compound to steal coffee from a colleague in another building.

I could go on ranting about all that but I’m too happily tired to care. I escaped!

We drove out to Istalif, a village an hour or so north of Kabul that’s famous for its pottery. I can’t say I care for it overly, and was happy to drive on further up into the hills before abandoning the car and using my legs for a change.

village

I’m not poetic enough to begin to describe how good it was, but here’s a selection of photos. Without the better ones with people in, as I forgot to get them to sign consent forms for using them online.

legs

We walked for over seven hours, climbing to 3,000 meters.

ridge

Galumphing through snow fields.

snow1

Saying salaam to the few bemused locals we passed collecting fuel or herding sheep. Rising above the dust and haze and looking out far across the Shomali plain.

shomali-plain

Looking down on the vultures circling below us and the planes heading for Bagram. Looking at the stone look-out positions and shallow trenches scraped into the rock for Mujahideen to crawl hidden through while fighting the Russians.

trench

Looking at the carefully built terraces high up the valley sides for rain-fed wheat.

terracing

Trudging slowly upwards; blistering back down the other side of the valley.

down

What a wonderful change to be physically exhausted instead of just mentally worn out. I had a few great walks in Ghor, and have dreamed of trekking in the Wakhan Corridor. This country has some amazing landscapes to explore, just a pity so many are off limits.

To be able to walk out and up, to feel free, away from it all on top of a mountain… that was good.

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4 Responses to “Walking out of here”

  1. transitionland Says:

    Very pretty.

  2. Marianne Says:

    Ah – I know that feeling so well. Enjoy!

  3. amstravels Says:

    Beautiful! Great for the soul 🙂

  4. lin Says:

    Amazing! Both the joy of walking, exploring and enjoying the whole of it, plus the great photos!

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